Argan Oil – is it Snake Oil?

Last year, I was only just starting down the rabbit hole that is the beauty world. It was at that time that I started hearing about beauty oils. It wasn’t gradual, it was sudden, it was frequent, and more often than not it was Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil. Although most people struggle with the idea that facial skin + oil does not always equal unparalled catastrophe, that was not my obstacle. My personal obstacle was wrapping my head around a) the fact that so many people seem convinced that this is a miracle product and that b) the purveyors of this bottled hocus-pocus were actually selling it for as much as it costs. “It fixes your hair!” they said, “It fixes your face! It soothes ragged cuticles! It feeds the hungry!”
Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there at the end. It doesn’t feed hungry people, not directly anyway.

That said, it does feed hungry goats. The Argan tree, in addition to producing fruit with nuts inside that we get our so-called magical oil from, does in fact feed hungry Moroccan goats. Evidently, these goats determined that the fruits from Argan trees is outstanding because they climb the trees to eat them. Pics, it happened:

argangoats

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January 2014 Favorites

January 2014 Favorites

1. Psssst! Dry Shampoo, $6 / 2. Orly Bonder Base Coat, $6 / 3. Swisspers Nail Care Double-Tipped Swabs, $2 /
4. L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess, $6/ 5. Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss – Pink Pop, $6

Six dollars seems to be the magic amount for my January 2014 Favorites, huh? More on this after the jump.

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Beauty Oils

Beauty Oils

Beauty Oils

Beauty oils started increasing in popularity within the last couple years, but mostly among those in the beauty industry or fanatics. It seems that in the last year however, they have just exploded in popularity. Pesky waterproof makeup giving you trouble when it is time to remove? Oil can fix that. Facial cleansing that doesn’t strip your skin–squeaky clean isn’t actually a good thing, people–and leave it dry? Oil. Moisturizing without caking some awkward, likely scented goop on your face and waiting forever for it to sink in? Yeah – oils.

The problem is that many of us have been conditioned for years–hell, decades–with the understanding that oil = bad. Oil = shiny, and oil = blemishes. As it turns out, we’re in the wrong – as with many things, we should not assume that all oils are going to give us trouble simply because some do. We need to clear the cache here and start anew, because beauty oils are not going to ruin your day. Many people with oily skin (or even just combination/oily T-zone) seek oil-free everything. Cleansers, moisturizers, treatments, foundations – all for the fear that additional oil would exacerbate the problem. Not so – in fact, removing too much oil or forcing your skin to be too dry is going to cause your skin to overcompensate and produce more of what you’re fighting against. Using an oil (provided you choose the right one, please do not slap canola on your face and call it a day) can calm your skin down and make it scale back its oil production. Using an oil on waterproof makeup is a gentle and quick way to remove it. Sephora has been pushing them for a while and it really makes you wonder why they didn’t gain popularity sooner.

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WTF, Express?

Saturday’s Sass:

Express, what the actual fuck were you thinking?

Before I get into this, I’d like to point out that this is not a fashion blog. That being said, the two subjects are related so there may be some overlap. I don’t make a point of seeking things like this to write about, but I couldn’t help myself when I saw what I saw.

Backstory: I recently decided that I would like to invest in a decent blazer at some point. I have a blazer but it isn’t sturdy and isn’t versatile. I opened a few browser tabs to get an idea of what is currently available from various retailers. The Express website, www.express.com, tosses you onto a landing page with some current promotional info and where you then choose if you want to shop Womens, Mens, Sale, etc. This is what I was greeted with when I clicked the, “Womens,” link:


Nopenopenope. On the left – let’s not try to pass off drawstring, elastic-waist pants worn with a crop top and stilettos as chic. Especially not when those pants have tapered legs and what really feels like an athletic stripe down the side. Protip: Contoured cheekbones do not make you stylish. Neither does simply standing in what appears to be New York City.

On the right – jumpsuits (that are not intended as an occupational uniform) are against my religion, and they should be against yours too because they flatter no one. They’re awkward on the model, and they’re ridiculous on people who do not resemble matchsticks. Can we talk about this? This specific jumpsuit is called their, “Strapless Track Pant Jumpsuit.” Hot damn, what’s more stylish than track pants? Obviously track pants with a shapeless, drapey tube top attached. Listen – I used to run competitively. Please run just 50 meters in that. Bonus points if you don’t ditch the heels. Let me know how it goes for you.

The, “About,” section of their website states the following:

Express is the must-have sexy, sophisticated fashion brand for work, the weekend, or going out. It’s what’s new and what’s now for young fashion-forward women and men.

Really? Interesting. For most people, work clothing =/= sexy. The above is neither sexy nor sophisticated. Fashion forward? Maybe – but things like this are why my eyebrow is raised near-perpetually when it comes to fashion. I swear the designers just run out of ideas every now and then and make things like this to troll people. Don’t be the guy that designs or buys this nonsense.

Until writing this final sentence, I never did check out their blazers – none of their inventory appeals to me…but I’d be lying if I said that nonsense above didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth. Keep trying, Express.

L’Oreal USA Consumer Participation Panel

L'Oreal USA Consumer Participation Panel example haul
Photo Credit: Girl Got Glitter
(Seriously, go check out her blog – this is not my photo!)

Just as there are paid surveys, there are some companies who will send you free product in exchange for your feedback – be it a social marketing program like Influenster or BzzAgent, or the manufacturer themselves – such as in the case of L’Oreal and their consumer testing program. Naturally, I was skeptical when I first heard – L’Oreal is a cosmetics giant; why would they? People will buy their products just because of their brands, after all. I did some homework, however, and found that not only do they offer product-testing for many of the brands in their portfolio but they often compensate participants with considerable amounts of free product after the fact. And I don’t mean, “Here’s a sample sized eyeliner,” I mean full size products, as shown above. Like most sane people, I enjoy the opportunity to try an item before I risk hard-earned money on purchasing it. I am (usually) not an impulse buyer, so something like the L’Oreal USA Consumer Participation Panel is always relevant to my interests.

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